Should we trust ourselves during the relationship honeymoon phase?

A couple sharing a romantic moment
A couple sharing a romantic moment

The world has been pretty riveted to the whirlwind romance that is singer Ariana Grande and fiancé Pete Davidson’s relationship. And now engagement. 

The two have, according to Elle magazine, only been together for two months, but show no signs of letting themselves or their fans climb off from the rollercoaster of excited, new relationship feels that most couples experience when they first start dating.

No one can deny the euphoria of getting to know your partner.

From discovering and laughing over common interests and likes, to experiencing the effervescent and flirtatious chemistry that only serves out delicious feel-good endorphins, a new relationship status could almost be equated to the moment when someone says “I do”.

I’ve always thought that dating someone for the first few weeks are kind of sacred in the sense that the time spent should be focused on establishing that there’s a genuine connection. The idea of having something to yourself for a little bit, also makes the intimacy of those first weeks a lot more magical than shouting it out.

READ MORE: 6 couples tell us how they met the one

For me, talking about a relationship the first few weeks in is also almost an invitation for something to go wrong. Of course, I am someone who is overly cautious, so what I think might happen is not necessarily a guarantee of it actually occurring.

But many people are so caught up in the rush of the excitement, they start talking marriage, meeting friends and family and already think of moving in. And yes, sometimes some of these hurricane-speed relationships have ended up working out, but there’s definitely nothing wrong with being a little cautious.

We reached out to Paula Quinsee, relationship expert and author of Embracing Conflict, who provided us with some key insights when it comes to jumping in a relationship so quickly:

Signs couples are rushing into something too quickly:

Paula notes that  the honeymoon phase of a relationship generally lasts between 3 – 24 months. 

“It’s during this process that the initial components of lust, attraction and infatuation are more prevalent before love starts coming into the equation.”

During this time, which Quinsee considers to be the beginning stages of the relationship, she says that people are at the point where they’re still putting their best foot forward and on their best behaviour because they want to impress each other.

So, the risk here is that “rushing in to a relationship too soon means that you miss some tell-tale indicators as to whether you really are compatible on more complex levels than just attraction and lust such as expectations and relationship aspirations.” 

And those include things like your values, belief systems and cultural traditions. Things like whether you want children or not and how you’ll raise them are important things to consider before really and truly are ready to define the depth of your relationship.

What happens when someone is jumping straight from one relationship and rushing into another? Is there a chance for happiness?

“It’s never a good thing to jump from one relationship to another,” says Paula. “If you’ve noticed this is a pattern of yours and you have a string of failed relationships behind you, you need to take some time out to reflect on why this keeps happening.”

A few points to consider about what it means when you’re relationship hopping:

• You are not allowing yourself the time to heal, gain closure, or an understanding of why the relationship didn’t work so that we don’t repeat those same patterns in the next relationship. 
• Without realising it, you may well be self-sabotaging your own happiness. 
• If you are unable to sustain a relationship for the long-term (i.e. more than a year at a time), then you need to do some real deep introspection work as to why you are unable to sustain connection and intimacy with another person?

READ MORE: What it's really like to love someone of a different race

The general rule of thumb for taking time out between relationships is: for every month you have been together take 1 week off or for every year you are together you should take one month off from dating or before you jump into the next relationship. 

This gives you time to reconnect with yourself, why your past relationship did not work, gaining closure in order to really move on (or you risk carrying the baggage with you into your next relationship) and reflecting on what you really are looking for in a life partner and the commitment and effort you are prepared to put into sustaining a relationship.

But what are the signs that a relationship is set to last beyond the three-month milestone?

Paula says that most relationships take on the following pattern:

• First you meet, size each other out or perhaps have a coffee here or there before taking it up a notch to dating and then being mutually exclusive.

If you’ve been seeing someone for a while, here’s how to know if you should be having the relationship chat:

• You talk to each other and share stuff a lot, like almost every day 
• You’re always doing things together
• You have feelings for this person and don’t want to see anyone else
• You miss that person when they’re not around or you’re already acting like a couple. 

If you’re experiencing any of the above, then there is more than a good chance that you’re “ready to take it to the next level and define the status and boundaries of the relationship.” 

Of course, each couple is different, so timing depends on how ready and comfortable you feel as a couple to move things to the next level.

When did you know that you were ready to take your relationship to the next step? Share your stories with us.

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